Last week I saw an interesting presepio in the Pantheon and I returned this Sunday with my camera. The Christmas figures will remain in most Roman churches until Candlemas Day, February 2nd, which marks the end of the Epiphany season.
"The Crib" was made by the students of Leon Wyczòtkowski State School of Fine Arts in Bydgoszcz, Poland. It is about 3/4 life-size. My friend Will described these figures as having the influence of Social Realism left over from the days of Communism that still echos in certain schools of Polish art.
A trio of saints accompanies the shepherd to the manger. They appear to be the Jesuit St. Stanislaus Kostka - 1550 to 1568 (who studied at the Collegio Romano around the corner from the Pantheon), Isidore the Farmer - 1070 to 1130 (the first Polish Church in New York was named afetr St. Isidore), and St. Therese of Lisieux - 1873 to 1897 (the Little Flower). Will also pointed out that the Bambino Gesù bears a striking resemblance to the figures of Botero.